RANKIN COUNTY, Miss. (WJTV) – Agents with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation (MBI) are investigating after a man died after he was arrested in connection to a burglary in Braxton.
The incident happened around 8:00 p.m. on Monday, July 26. Rankin County deputies said they responded to Foote Drive in response to a burglary call. After speaking with witnesses, investigators identified the suspect as Damien M. Cameron, of Braxton.
According to deputies, Cameron was located coming out of the woods nearby. They said he ran to the back of his home. Deputies stated Cameron was told to place his hands behind his back, but when one deputy approached, he began to fight and resist arrest.
Investigators said deputies were able to arrest Cameron and walked him to the patrol vehicle. After speaking with witnesses, deputies found Cameron unresponsive in the patrol vehicle. They said deputies removed him from the vehicle, began life saving measures and called for medical assistance.
Cameron was taken to a local hospital and later transferred to another hospital where he was pronounced deceased.
Relatives of Cameron are blaming his death on alleged excessive force by deputies.
Betty Cameron, 73, and her husband, James, said a deputy chased their grandson into the house and struggled with him in a bedroom. The deputies eventually got him in custody and into a patrol vehicle, they said.
Damien Cameron’s mother, Monica Lee, said she heard her son yelling, “I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe! I’m tired,” as officers brought him out of the house. She said officers denied her request to give him some water.
Lee said she went outside to tell her son that she loved him and would see him the next day at the jail. But when she got there, she said her son “was laid on the ground, unresponsive.”
Betty and James Cameron said their grandson complained of not being able to breathe when a deputy placed his knee on the back of his neck. They said he fell twice before being placed in the patrol car. Betty Cameron said he was also shocked twice with a stun gun.
“I don’t understand why it led to that point. It shouldn’t have happened. Now, my son is gone and he’s never coming home again,” Lee said.
James Cameron said he also heard one of the deputies crying and saying, “Oh Lord, why this have to happen to me? Why me?”
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is not commenting on the ongoing investigation. Capt. Johnny Poulos said all investigative findings will be turned over to the district attorney for review.
Lee said she is working with the NAACP to get more answers about her son’s death.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.